Subject: AP: Supreme Court clears 3 Indonesian officials in 1999 Timor violence

Supreme Court clears 3 Indonesian officials in 1999 East Timor violence

May 24, 2004 7:45am AP Online

JAKARTA, Indonesia_The Supreme Court said on Monday it upheld a conviction of crimes against humanity by a special tribunal against three Indonesians officials for their roles in the church killings of 27 East Timor independence supporters in 1999.

Lt. Col. Asep Kuswani, Police Lt. Col. Adios Salova and district head Leonita Martins were declared free of charges of failing to prevent pro-Jakarta militias from attacking a church in the town of Liquica on April 6, 1999 where 27 people were killed, said Chief Judge Artidjo Alkostar told The Associated Press.

Alkostar said the Supreme Court in a hearing on Wednesday rejected an appeal made by government prosecutors to review the case.

A special tribunal in Central Jakarta acquited the men in November 2002. Local and international human rights groups have said the trials of those accused of violence in East Timor were a sham.

However Alkostar said that he was one out of five judges that has "a dissenting opinion" on the verdict.

"In my opinion, the men have to be punished because they were responsible for their men for the killing of 27 people inside the church," he said.

Nearly 2,000 civilians were believed killed and 250,000 forced to flee their homes when Indonesian troops and their militia proxies launched a campaign of terror before and after an independence referendum.

East Timor gained full independence in May, after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations following Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.

(ltd/if)


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